A controversial redevelopment is proposed to relieve pressure on this busy station which already sees Sunday crowd control closures.
Camden Town station is situated at the junction of both the Bank and Charing Cross central branches of the Northern Line, and of the two northern branches to Edgware and High Barnet, therefore generating significant interchange traffic (especially recently after the derailment, which put out of action a crossover which permits Edgware trains to travel to/from the Charing Cross branch, and Barnet trains to/from the Bank branch).
It is also the focus of Camden Town itself, a busy area which sees thousands of visitors coming on Sundays for the markets, when the station has to be closed for entry (making it interchange and exit only) to prevent dangerous overcrowding.
According to London Underground (LU), 50,000 to 70,000 journeys are made using Camden Town (for exit or interchange) daily, with growth of 20% predicted over the next 20 years.
The current station would be unable to accommodate this growth in passenger numbers without significant crowd control measures including closing for entry on Saturdays as well as Sundays.
Impression of the redevelopment
This is potentially a major redevelopment project, including rebuilding platforms and interchange passages as well as enlarging the ticket hall and providing more escalators. Therefore LU wanted to take the whole triangle between Buck St, Camden High St and Kentish Town Road for redevelopment, which would have required property demolition.
Significantly, the Buck Street Market, United Reformed Church and Electric Ballroom would all have been demolished. The church would have been housed in temporary accommodation during construction and in a new building in the redeveloped station. The Electric Ballroom could have been rehoused in the new building. Buck St Market would not have been rehoused, as it is in situ based on a "temporary" planning application dating from the 1970s. This was not popular with many locals, as many believe destroying the market partly destroys the character of the area.
Latest of a line
After a nine-week public enquiry from 10 Feb 2004, the Department for Transport rejected the planning application by London Underground. The previous sixteen designs were also rejected by Camden Council.
During construction, a temporary station with ticket office etc. would have been provided on the north of the site on Buck Street.
Computer impression of the redeveloped station from the south
The £135m new station was seen as a "landmark development" by Camden Council and therefore was intended to make a visual impact. It was a seven-storey building with the station on the ground floor; the other floors would have provided office space (70,000 sq ft) and accommodation (72 flats, 50% affordable). These developments were expected to provide 10% of the cost of construction.
Computer impression of the intermediate concourse
Doing nothing is not considered an option by any party.
Ove Arup proposed several alternative, less disruptive designs which do not involve demolition of the market, but LU did not believe they were adequate to suit the requirements of the new station.
The "Save Camden" campaign were promoting one of Arup's options as the one they believe suited Camden the best.
"Keep it Camden" (KIC) also have their own proposals for better use of the existing structures.
KIC also advocate the reopening of South Kentish Town station, closed since 1924. South Kentish Town is situated on the corner of Castle Road and Kentish Town Road, and would be the nearest tube station to the market areas other than Camden Town station itself.
The Deputy Prime Minister's office has rejected London Underground's £130m proposal for the reconstruction of Camden Town station, following a public inquiry. LU will now have to either pursue a judicial review or devise an alternative plan to solve chronic congestion at the station.
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